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Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

I have recently been kicking around the idea of obtaining a PMP certification.

I am an EE and registered PE with approx. 15 years experience in Power Systems Engineering which has been a good mix of both design/consulting as well as project management for various projects. I have recently taken a role as an engineering manager for an engineering team which supports our company's EPC projects business for power distributions systems which at times requires an active project management role in order to manage our design portion within the overall project directed by the project PM. Often times because of lack of capabilities of project PM I find myself trying to help guide/manage more than just the design aspect of the project such as scheduling, construction activities, etc....As a design engineer prior to my new role I was involved in these PM activities very deeply for each individual project but in my new management role I find myself trying to do this a very high level for the multiple projects that I am overseeing.

I curious to hear from others if they feel that a PMP certification would be beneficial for the engineering management role that I described or any other potential management roles in the future (engineering, operational, or business related). Even if one day I have aspirations to start my own consulting business I cant help but think that maybe this certification and knowledge may be useful.

Does anyone fell that this certification will help set you aside a potential engineering management candidate for new opportunities.

I appreciate any feedback.

RE: Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

I don't have the certification but I wish I did. If you are ever looking for a new position either internally or externally it may be one of the items that put you into the 'consideration' list of candidates.

RE: Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

A long time ago I was considering the same, but after many years I daresay PMP is good marketing label for IT or corporate finance projects, where there is lot of excess money, while specific measuring of management effectiveness is lacking.

That is, imho, PMP is in no way compatible with engineering management knowledge, which is very specific, most of time. Some good construction project management or construction management course/certification is much more useful.

RE: Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

It really comes down to what you intend the certification to do for you. Is it the educational aspect, the job availability aspect, or a personal goal you want to achieve?

I'm a US Department of Defense level 3 certified Program Manager which is an equivalent certification. Over the past 30+ years I've spent time in the commercial aircraft industry and in the government as an engineer and Program Manager with an MBA, MSCS and a Doctorate in Systems Engineering.

A few years back, a number of people in another office contracted with a PMP training vendor to go through the course and obtain their certification. I attended the course as a certified, seasoned program manager to have a look at the content and possibly get certified myself later if I decided to do so. The course was very good, they cover a lot of relevant program/project management topics that you need to be aware of, and from an educational awareness perspective, yes it was valuable. However, like any certification, there are a lot of people, including many in the class I attended, who are simply looking for the certification to put on their resume. The course was designed to cram enough into peoples heads to pass the exam..and simply that. Many that I saw eventually get the cert most certainly wouldn't qualify as entry level PMs competent enough to cut loose with a project without routine hand-holding. Of course, this also applies to the DoD cert as well which is why you see many projects fail. As a hiring manager, I would give close scruitiny to someone's resume if they have the cert to assure myself that they know what they're doing.

I somewhat agree with Drazen. However, effective Program Management is not Engineering Management since it also carries with it the business aspect. Furthermore, the greatest downfall of a lot of PMs is the inability to divorce themselves from the engineering and leave that to the engineering team. Secondly, realizing that there are a multitude of ways to design a system, all with their plusses and minusses, you've got to allow people to do it their way without dictating every step of the way. Certainly, you've got to have a handle on the efficacy of the technical approach, but that comes down to effective risk management which brings me to my second point. Many projects blow their cost and schedule goals (or technical objectives) because the Project Manager was not serious about identifying every possible risk (within time/financial constraints) and developing mitigation plans for them. Cost, Schedule and Technical performance is a closed loop, and problems can't all be solved by throwing more cash, bodies or time at a problem. It takes a mix of marketing/coaching/accounting/engineering/planning/manufacturing/logistics to be effective at it, engineering is but one aspect.

RE: Engineering Manager considering PMP Cerficiation - Is it worth it?

Thank you for the valuable feedback.

I think my thought process or goal with the PMP was to get a more formal exposure on project management (outside of the actual hands on experience in my career) in order to be a more effective leader in my current engineering manager role with supporting large EPC projects.

Perhaps like others suggested a more narrow focused construction management certification would be more practical. As an engineering manager however I am involved with not only the project management aspects of the construction projects but also the operational management (finance, etc...) of managing an engineering team. Perhaps however for this a more focused course on engineering management would be better suited.

For new potential engineering management opportunities do you fell that the PMP certification sets you aside from other equally qualified candidates?

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